Susan Gillmour von der nordirischen Landjugend, Young Farmers‘ Club of Ulster, war im Sommer zu Gast in Schleswig-Holstein. Jetzt kam Post von ihr. In ihrem Bericht beschreibt Susan die Wochen, die sie bei der Vorsitzenden des Landjugendverbandes, Jessica Bruhn, und bei Jörn Bock verbrachte und in denen sie viele „local Lundjeund members“ traf und mit Ringreiten, Kieler Woche, Ausflügen nach Nordstrand und Amrum sowie „water games“ viel erlebte.
Moin! My name is Susan Gilmour and I am from a dairy farm in Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland I am part of the Young Farmers‘ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) which is the equivalent of Lundjeund. Through both organisations I was offered an exchange programme to visit Germany. I spent two weeks in June/July 2023 in the Schleswig-Holstein region with two different families.
I flew from Dublin to Hamburg Airport where my first host Jessica Bruhn welcomed me to Germany. We drove a few hours North to Jessi’s home in Husum where we had a quick lunch before driving to Nordstrand. Jessi’s family live on Nordstrand which is known as a half island as only a narrow road connects it to the mainland.
Nordstrand is beautifully rural and the land is so flat you are able to see for miles in every direction – a local saying is „you can see your guests coming two days before they arrive”. When driving you only see a few houses every kilometre and the architecture of the houses is very traditional. Most of the land is arable with wheat being the most common crop. I saw the famous mudflats and the dikes which surround the whole island. There is a very strong sense of community on the island and they welcomed me to many events over the first week including volleyball, ringriding and a local competition day where teams dressed up in costumes and competed against each other in water games. The locals finished the day with a party that lasted to sunrise!
Every Thursday there is a farmers market in Husum where local procedures sell their bread, cheese, flowers, fruit! We bought something from most stalls and had our picnic breakfast overlooking the harbour. We travelled to Kiel for the annual funfair and sailing event. We went on the rollercoasters and tried different food stalls – my favourite was the Danish Ice Cream. That evening we were invited on a sailing boat by DKB. The crew instructed us how to put the sails of the boat up and we sailed up the River Kiel watching the sunset on the longest day of the year.
Next stop was a tour of Laura Stolley dairy farm. As we walked around her farm, Laura explained why she decided to farm alongside her parents, her agriculture education and how she runs the farm works.
Last farm on the island
The next day we caught a ferry to the island of Amrum. We rented bicycles and cycled around the island. Along the way we cycled through the lovely little towns. Highlights included the church, old mill and we ended the day with a swim in the Wadden Sea! Some of the local people had made jams with ingredients grown or foraged on the island and they were for sale on the sides of the road. We meet up with local Lundjeund members: Vanessa and Oke. We visited Oke’s farm which was the last farm on the island. He told us about the challenges of farming on the island however both members shared how much they loved living on the island and how they could never move away. The next farm we visited was good visitors of Jessi’s : Tade and Lena. They had recently installed a Lely Kitchen and they were building a new shed for robot milking machines. It was a very modern set up and their aim was to be able to take weekends off the farm! Next stop was a neighbouring farm which makes their own ice cream and sells it through a vending machine. The last farm we visited was Janik Jacobsen. He showed us around his pig farm explaining how it worked and his plans for the future.
The second week, I spent with Jörn Bock and his family on a dairy farm in Nübbel, outside Rendsburg. During this week, I experienced life on a German dairy farm and I helped out on the farm including driving machinery, milking cows, looking after calves and showing local nursery school children around the farm. We had a bike tour around Rensburg seeing all the local sights and went swimming at the local beach! My last day was spent exploring the sights, shops, cafe and restaurants in Hamburg!
I really enjoyed taking part in the exchange and there were a few things I took away from the experience. Firstly, it was so lovely to met so many females studying and getting involved in agriculture – including those not from an agricultural background and those coming back to farm with their parents. Secondly the use of renewable energy resources – most farms we visited had installed renewable energy technology whether it was solar panels, a wind turbine or part of an anaerobic digester cooperative between a small number of farms. There are similarities between the challenges farmers face in both the U.K. and Germany including the effects of climate change and trying to protect wildlife, the uncertainty of future government policies/programmes and how to diversify farm incomes! Thank you to both Jessi & Jörn and their families for hosting me over the two weeks! It was a brilliant experience and I have made memories and friends for life!